Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Clever REI Employee: Priceless!

The Mountainsmith Ghost has become one of my favorite packs because of its ingenious panel-loading design. I like to carry my tent on the outside using the straps on the bottom of the pack; however, one annoyance was that the straps were a little short (even to accommodate the diminutive Big Agnes SL2) so it was a bit of a struggle to make it fit.



In order to lengthen the straps, I came up with a complicated design that involved cutting off some of the existing buckles and sewing new straps in. Since I'm not exactly Betsy Ross, I decided to let the pros at the Denver REI repair dept. do it. As usual, I expected to show them the design, give them the pack, and be told it would be ready in a week.

The woman at the repair desk looked at my design and said, "Well, I could do this and you'd get your pack back in about a week. Or, I could show you a way to do it without sewing and you could walk out with your pack today. Let me think about this for a second..." After a few minutes of digging through bins of buckles and straps, she put together a really simple system using the existing hardware on the pack and some extra webbing. I was pleasantly surprised that she actually took the time to put some thought into what I wanted to do rather than the typical "order taking" you get at most places. And what she came up with was perfect! Now, the bottom straps have plenty of room to carry my tent (end even a bear canister). For only $2.00, I couldn't be happier with the outcome. Is there a way that customers can nominate the employee of the month?







The best part is that I didn't have to make any permanent modifications that might devalue the pack in order accomplish what I wanted. Nice!
A Clever REI Employee: Priceless!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

4 comments:

Canoedad said...

That is the first thing that I would of thought of also. Smart and helpful people there at REI. Our store in the cities is my favorite with the same helpfull results. Have you had any luck with the new wood burners yet? How about Tinny's new blackfly 2 stove. I just ordered one. I hope it is the answer for winter camping. Group camp notes from a friend. "Trangia stove heated water much faster than the other (the Trangia has a built in wind screen and we believe that is the difference)" Jason please share any of your winter stove wisdom.

Jason Klass said...

Hey Canoedad,
You can bet the next time I have another gear mod idea, I'll pitch it to her first! Honestly, I haven't played with the new woodstove yet but will within the upcoming months. I've got some other projects I'm working on. As for the new Blackfly 2, it definitely looks like a cool design (Tinny is a genius) but for me, there's too much of a fuss factor with filling the water jacket, setting up the pot supports, etc. I prefer an alcohol I can just put on the ground and light. But, I would certainly like to hear your review of it. Please let me know what you think.

What I am really interested in though is Tinny's new wood stove prototype (the one with the fan). Seems like he's got some good ideas on how to reduce soot and I'm really looking forward to seeing the final product. If he nails it and sells it, I will probably get one.

For winter (real winter with deep snow and bad weather) I still only use a white gas stove (MSR XGK). No alcohol stove I know of will melt large quantities of snow for water and the XGK is 100% reliable. I just like something I can brush the snow off of and light without having to baby it or worry about keeping the fuel warm. To me, it's worth the extra weight in the winter.

Anonymous said...

hi jason
how much does that tent weigh
i wondered what sort of tent you might have
i guess i figured you would be a taup guy
the tent i got was a 2 person laserlarge 1 it weighs 1.8 kilos that about a little less than 4 pounds in old money
i could have and maybe should have got the laser at 1.2 kilos
sara england
youtube ROCKsquareANORACK

Jason Klass said...

It weighs 2 lbs 14 oz. and it's a 2 person tent but I use it as a palatial solo tent. As far as I know, it's the lightest freestanding 2-person tent in the world. I don't like tarps because I'm not always camping in an area that has trees (so I like freestanding tents), plus, I HATE bugs!